Two villages in the Pamir Mountains and their watersheds of about 23km2 were mapped in resolutions of 15 and 10cm each using professional mapping UAVs. The imagery will be used to inform future and current remediation activities, disaster risk reduction training and risk maps in the communities.
Many villages in the Tajik Pamir Mountains are at risk for mudslides, which typically occur during the summer months when ice and snow melt is increased. One recent mudslide in Barsem village had released 1.5 million m3 of debris into the village, destroyed homes and had formed a natural dam in the river flowing through the valley. The build up of debris had completely stopped the water flow for 20 min, and caused a natural build-up of water. The lake that formed as a result of the water build up destroyed further homes and is threatening the power station upstream.
The second site, Darjomj village, is at risk of such potential mudslides, the last one having occurred some decades ago. In addition, the adjacent river frequently changes its course, potentially threatening usable land and buildings.
The imagery collected from both sites will be used by Focus Humanitarian Assistance and the national government to create educational risk maps and analysed for erosion patterns in the mountain areas above the villages and along the riverbeds.
The mission took place in the second half of July 2016 and involved 50 flights with 3 mapping UAVs as part of the Drones in Humanitarian Action Initiative funded by DG ECHO. A formal case study write up will be published in the following weeks.
Once on the plateau with the drones in the air, the main task was monitoring the flights on the screen.
In spite of the typical dust storm, well visible in the background, the imagery turned out surprisingly clear. This image was taken from the village level on top of the debris that had been washed into the village last year after the severe mudflow.
Sometimes, our launch points were much greener:
The soft grass protects the body of the drone when landing and this plateau over the village is an ideal landing spot.
One of out highest launch points at about 3600 meters ASL. There is still snow visible in the background:
The view over Darjomj village: